Mumbai's animals give a paws up for its newest hydrotherapy clinic

Hydrotherapy for treating canine ailments is quite common abroad but is relatively lesser-known in India. Come August, and Mumbai’s canines can look forward to this form of therapy at Petzone’s new clinic and hydrotherapy centre at Mahalaxmi.

The clinic is the brainchild of veterinary physician Dr Leena Dalal, who started the first Petzone clinic in Churchgate, a decade ago. She teamed up with veterinarian and physiotherapist Dr Deep Vasudeo for this venture. Dr Dalal, who owns “water dogs” — a Golden Retriever and a Labrador, adds that the pool at the new clinic is four feet deep, 8 cm wide and 15 feet long.

Petzone’s Mahalaxmi clinic will have hydrotherapy sessions for dogs. Representation Pic

Explaining the benefit of this form of therapy, Dr Dalal says, “It will help canines with orthopaedic problems or semi-paralysed ones. Swimming keeps muscles in good shape and post orthopaedic surgeries this is a great way for dogs to regain bone strength and heal the spine. Also, overweight dogs (often, due to a sedentary lifestyle) who can’t exercise due to pressure of their weight can opt for hydrotherapy.”

Dr Vasudeo pitches in, “The water has a certain buoyancy and offers resistance. So, if a dog has a certain orthopaedic condition or has arthritis and cannot walk, they can still swim as the water takes off the weight from their joints and offers passive exercise.

We have also ordered for float jackets that will be adjusted based on the dog’s weight (overweight dogs float better than underweight ones).” Dr Vasudeo also stresses that hydrotherapy can help reduce swelling and oedema (excessive build-up of fluid in body’s tissues), boost blood circulation and help nerves respond to stimuli better.

The clinic will open on August 1, followed by an open house on August 5 when dog owners can drop by for a round-up of the facility. Bookings open from July 30. “The pool will also be available on rent every Sunday morning, for people who want to host dog parties or other such events on the premises,” she adds.

The hydrotherapy pool is only for dogs and cannot be used for birds and cats as they don’t like to swim. Apart from hydrotherapy sessions, the new Petzone clinic will have a 10-member expert panel to tackle animal-related health issues that include an animal behaviour specialist, an eye opthalmologist for animals and an avian specialist for birds. Plans are afloat to have an underwater treadmill for dogs on the premises.

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